I found this presumptive BLACK-HEADED X RING-BILLED GULL HYBRID along Greely Road in Cumberland during steady rain in the late morning of the 13th. It looks very similar to the individual of this hybrid pair that wintered on the Falmouth waterfront for at least two years, 2019-20, and 2020-21. Could it be the same bird with a little more black on the head due to the earlier date?
Rarity season is upon us, but most of my birding this week was in and around our yard. Not that that wasn’t extremely enjoyable though! A few forays afield did not produce those hoped-for November “Megas,” but I did see a few things of note over the past eight days including:
Evening Grosbeaks have been present daily at our feeders in Durham all week. 7 on 11/11 peaked at 32 on 11/12 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group).
1 Lapland Longspur (FOF), over our yard in Durham, 11/11.
1 PUTATIVE BLACK-HEADED X RING-BILLED GULL HYBIRD, Greely Road, Cumberland, 11/13. First distant observation in driving rain suggested a much, much darker head and mantle, but finally relocated closer to the road. Joined by Nick Lund and Reed and Laura Robinson.
Red Crossbills have been regular fly-overs in our Durham yard this week, but 10 were feeding on Eastern Hemlocks on 11/17.
My observations of note over the past seven days included the following:
1 continuing HUDSONIAN GODWIT, Wharton Point, Brunswick, 10/15 (with Saturday Morning Birdwalk group; the 247th all-time Saturday Morning Birdwalk species!). Observed at closer range later from the Maquoit Bay Conservation Land.
1 Indigo Bunting, Wolfe’s Neck Center, Freeport, 10/16.
Incredibly morning at Bailey Island, Harpswell with Jeannette on 10/17: 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, 1 CAPE MAY WARBLER, 1 Blue-headed Vireo, 1 Red-eyed Vireo. 6 total species of warblers; 7 species of sparrows. 400+ Dark-eyed Juncos, 200+ Yellow-rumped Warblers, 150+ White-throated Sparrows, 150+ Song Sparrows, etc, etc.
1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, our yard in Durham, 10/17.
My birding levels were closer to par for me this week, albeit concentrated on building our new yard list! The last two group tours of the year – both by boat – were conducted this week, with overall great success. It was also nice to have a few mornings to get some casual birding in before work. This is my favorite time of the birding year, afterall!
1 Marsh Wren (in a dry patch of burdock!), our yard in Durham, 10/8.
1 Long-tailed Duck (first of fall), 3 Snowy Egrets, 115 Surf Scoters, etc, Birds of Casco Bay Boat Tour, 10/9.
1 Indigo Bunting in a very light morning flight at Sandy Point, Cousin’s Island, Yarmouth, 10/10 (total – 87 migrants).
½ Day Pelagic out of Boothbay Harbor on 10/11: 1 Common Murre, 1 Parasitic Jaeger, 1 Pomarine Jaeger, 3 Northern Fulmars, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, etc. Full trip report with photos and annotated checklist, along with my Stercorariidae mea culpa can be seen here.
It’s been a crazy two weeks! Other than two wonderful weekends on Monhegan – personal and professional – and an incredibly Sandy Point Morning Flight last week, my birding has been seriously limited. With the weather pattern and so many rarities around, this was frustrating, but as of today, we have (mostly) completed our move from Pownal to Durham.
Monhegan Island, 9/22-9/26. Highlights included 1 LARK SPARROW, 6 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS, 3 CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS, 2 DICKCISSELS, 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, 16 species of warblers, and an insane falcon show. Complete Tour Report and daily checklist here.
Sandy Point Morning Flight, 9/29: 6,183 migrants of 69 species highlighted by 1 BLUE GROSBEAK, 20 species of warblers, and my 195th all-time patch bird in 2 high-flying Little Blue Herons! It was a great enough day to deserve its own blog, which can be found here.
1 Brown Thrasher, here at the store, 9/29. Our second ever in the garden here.
Pownal Morning Flight, 9/30: 289 individuals of 29 species. Complete list here. Our last morning flight at our old property, with a final yard list of 136.
Monhegan Island, 9/30-10/2 with Jeannette. We were here for a friends’ event, so birding was not always the priority. Nonetheless, we had some good birds included the continuing juvenile RED-HEADED WOODPECKER, at least one continuing CLAY-COLORED SPARROW and DICKCISSEL, 1 Red-bellied Woodpecker, our first coastal Pine Siskin of the fall, a late Veery, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers in every apple tree, warblers on the ground, and a big Yellow-rumped Warbler morning flight on the 1st.
Unlike last week, I was out birding plenty this week, including some of my favorite fall activities: Sandy Point and sorting through shorebirds. Here are my observations of note over the past seven days:
Morning flight over our Pownal yard, 9/10: 6:15-7:30am: 250+ warblers of at least 10 species, led by 40++ Northern Parulas and including 1 Bay-breasted and 2++ Cape May Warbler.
“Zeiss Day” Hakwatch right here at the store, 9/10 (with Rich Moncrief): 95 individuals of 11 species of raptors led by 21 Ospreys and 18 Broad-winged Hawks. Full count here.
20-25 Common Nighthawks, over our yard in Pownal at dusk, 9/10, and 5-10 on 9/11.
6 Northern Waterthrushes, 6 Swainson’s Thrushes, etc, Capisic Pond Park, Portland, 9/11 (with Down East Adventures Fall Songbird Workshop group).
After returning from a weekend in Massachusetts, I was unfortunately unable to get in much birding over the past six days, other than our yard and morning dogwalks. However, our yard in particular has been very productive, including over a dozen species of warblers and three continuing juvenile Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Furthermore, since the storm pulled away, dead calm nights have precluded any drifting of migrants and therefore there wasn’t a single morning where I attempted a morning flight count at Sandy Point. Therefore, my observations of note over the past 5 days was limited to Friday, when I actually went birding. The highlights included:
1 adult with 1 juvenile CASPIAN TERN and four Common Nighthawks, Seapoint Beach, Kittery, 9/9.
1 immature Great Cormorant, The Nubble, Cape Neddick, 9/9.
7 continuing WHITE IBIS, Webhannet Marsh, Wells, 9/9. 1 distant to the south of Harbor Road and 6 close to Drake’s Island Road in the early pm high tide.
Tomorrow (Saturday, 9/10) is our second Zeiss Day here at the store. We’ll have a full range of Zeiss products to test drive during our morning birdwalk, and day-long hawkwatch. For more information, see this link on our website.
All. The. Shorebirds. And rare wading birds! Here are my observations of note over the past seven days:
1 TRICOLORED HERON (my first pure TRHE of the year), Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 8/9 (with Jeannette).
26 WHITE IBIS, Webhannet Marsh, Wells, 8/11. 29 were present earlier, but I had to settle for “only” 26. Either way, wow…A flock of White Ibis! Rapidly expanding up the Eastern Seabird, this was just a matter of time.
Shorebird high counts this week, with many species now peaking:
AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER: 2 ad with 1 juv, Upper Green Island, Casco Bay, 8/12 (with Seacoast Tours and private tour group). Is this a family group from Ram Island, or perhaps another pair is now breeding further up the bay?
Black-bellied Plover: 62, Pine Point, Scarborough, 8/8 (with client from NY).
Killdeer: 5, Pelreco Marsh, Scarborough Marsh, 8/7 (with Down East Adventures Shorebird Workshop Group).
Semipalmated Plover: 300+, Pine Point, 8/7 (with Down East Adventures Shorebird Workshop Group).
Whimbrel: 2, Pine Point, 8/8 (with client from NY).
Ruddy Turnstone: 1, 8/7 (with Down East Adventures Shorebird Workshop Group).
STILT SANDPIPER: 9 (great count!), Eastern Road Trail, 8/8 (with client from NY) and 8/9 (with Jeannette).
Sanderling: 34, Hill’s Beach, Biddeford, 8/7 (with Down East Adventures Shorebird Workshop Group).
Least Sandpiper: 75+, Eastern Road Trail, Scarborough Marsh, 8/8 (with client from NY).